Friday, June 25, 2010

Searching for Grace

Sometimes, the words don't come. Sometimes, they seem too heavy to write or speak. They ruminate and congest. They parade and stomp, elephant-like in my mind. Like lead ingots. So heavy. But then, I realize those unspoken words weigh much more than those that are set free.

So the words finally came. They stumbled out awkwardly, falling sporadically. Despite their rough-edged rigidness, I welcomed them during their sporadic, capricious arrival.

The last weeks, I've been low. Yelling at my children. Not enjoying, but enduring. Tense, terse and rigid. The whining, the sass, the crying, the constant needs, the kids fighting--all pummeling through me and throwing me over a jagged, steep cliff. Every minute of every moment filled with demands and unease, camouflaging any remaining simple joys. I precariously balanced there, my needs teetering with those of my children. I felt as if I successfully failed all, my only resounding certainty was my uncertainty.

One rough morning this week, Abby screamed in Henry's face. Appalled by her behavior, I screamed in her face (under the guise of showing her how not to treat her brother, fooling no one.) She (understandably) broke down and bawled. I resisted comforting her because I self-righteously and resolutely sat in my anger: "She should know better than to yell at her brother like that."

Then, my tears began their cathartic descent, achingly releasing the bottled weeks of angst. Yes, my children's recent behavior was maddening. BUT that did not give me permission to relinquish my usual deep-breathing, patient ways. Abby yelling at her brother in disgust? Well, not surprisingly, my sweet daughter mimicked me, yelling at her brother as I, lately, have yelled at yer. I never used to yell before. Now I'm yelling frequently. Daily. Hourly. And just seven hours into summer break, I already ached for fall and school.

My life consists of a continual series of seismic waves, up, down, falling, climbing. Sometimes the falls loom steeply. My recent residence in the dredges of the bottom curve leave me traversing between anger and frustration. And, despite my awareness of the necessity of the lows, I've been so mean to myself. Judging. Frustrated. My true thoughts ricocheting against my shoulds, a battle of wills ensuing. The gnawing, unfair supposition that I should be feeling something other than what I did wasted me. I hated that I allowed my children to annoy me. Harshly judging my reality and emotions, I left little room for the essence of my feelings to take hold and lead to a brighter spot. I wished that I could extend myself the same kindness, compassion and patience I freely and easily dole out to the others I love in my life.

And now, with tears streaming as I remember that morning and the malaise of the last several weeks, I grasp tightly to the power of the low, promising a forthcoming brightness. My shoulds and agonies parted and the words flowed, comforting like a linguistic salve. With a renewed peacefulness in my soul, compassion, joy and understanding returned for my children. And, gratefully, and maybe most importantly, they returned for me, too.